A look at what
you'll find beneath Puerto Vallarta's bay's surface
While some of the local fauna
can usually only be seen with full scuba gear, MOST
of it can be witnessed with just goggles and a snorkel
(fins optional). Near the rockier shores of the bay,
around the Marietta Islands, and at Los Arcos you'll
find hundreds of fascinating and beautiful creatures
that these photos simply don't do justice to. The pool
at your hotel may host some 'heavenly bodies', but take
a snorkel excursion into Banderas Bay for a real treat
for the eyes.
can grow up to 12 inches long here. Be carefull of the
sharp spines when it inflates. Although the spines are
not poisonous, the fish itself is highly toxic, which
is why you'll see local fishermen turning them back
to the water when caught on their hooks.
Butterfly Fish grow up to 6 inches long, and
you'll often see them in pairs searching the coral and
rocks for tiny organisms.
"Sgt. Major" (named for the
stripes) range in size from an inch to 9 or 10 inches
long. You'll often see these in schools of hundreds
close to the surface.
Wrasse will swim in large groups near
the rocks. Of note: This type of fish is born as a female,
but can change to a male as the population requires!
Best of both worlds?
Boxfish are up to 10 inches long, and the males
are generally a bit larger and more colorfull than the
females. Commonly seen hovering over coral reefs waiting
Sharpnose Spotted Puffer is another
toxic fish, but very small (only about 3 inches long)
and very teritorial. If you've found one, stay and watch
for a bit as it repeatedly chases other passing fish
Filefish are rare but not totally unseen in
the waters of Puerto Vallarta. It floats slowly and
calmly over the reef in search of food.
are almost as common here as at your aquarium store
back home. In the wild they will grow to nearly 12 inches
long. The younger Angelfish have distinctively different
markings than their mature counterparts.
are more and more rare here, due to harvesting for their
mythical properties (some cultures grind dried seahorses
as an aphrodesiac...while others deem them have strong
curative properties for many different ailments...though
no scientific connection has ever been proven). Consider
yourself lucky if you encounter one, and let it be with
the hope that they'll reproduce!